Taming the Billionaire(9)

By: Dani Wade

“Which have been stripped. Or I assure you the mattresses are nothing but dust and springs by now.”

He held out the oversize T. “Your attire, my dear.”


Even with the sound of heavy rain outside, Willow could still hear every squeak of the leather when Tate moved on the couch. And he moved a lot.

Too bad it wasn’t thundering still.

As the furniture protested yet another turn of Tate’s big body, Willow contemplated their current situation in the dark. She knew Murdoch had said they never had visitors, but she never imagined a big house like this wouldn’t at least be set up for the possibility. This was the South. Hospitality was an actual way of life down here. All these rooms lying dormant would be unheard of.

It was a type of isolation Willow couldn’t imagine.

She should be sound asleep right now. Between the tense drive and the stress of meeting her new boss, exhaustion weighed down her bones. But her unexpected dousing in cold water and ceiling tiles had her hyped. And every squeak of the leather told her Tate was in the same boat.

As one particularly restless move was followed by a long sigh, Willow finally gave in. She sat up and projected her voice above the noise of raindrops hitting the windows. “This is ridiculous. Come to bed.”

Hmm…that probably wasn’t the right way to put it. Now that her vision had adjusted somewhat to the dark, she could see his head and bare shoulders rise above the back of the couch. “What did you say?”

She should have been intimidated, but she was over that by now. “Come sleep in your own bed. You’re never gonna get any rest over there. And neither am I.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That every time you move that couch creaks. It’s even noisier than the rain outside.”

He slowly got to his feet. To her relief, he wrapped a blanket around his shoulders, covering the light skin that she wanted so badly to see. To cover her awkwardness over having her gorgeous new boss approach the bed she was sleeping in, she said the first thing that came to mind.

“At least the one good bed left in the house is the size of a football field.” Frankly, she felt a little lost in all this yardage.

“I’m not a small guy.”

To that, she could attest.

“But I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said.

“I think we’ll manage,” she said, her sense of humor asserting itself. “I won’t think less of you if you put pillows down the middle. After all, I want you to feel safe.”

Even in the dark she caught his pause. “Shouldn’t that be my line?” he asked. She detected a touch of amusement. Probably the best she could hope for with him, especially since his progress had slowed considerably. Did walking toward her on the bed have to resemble a death march?

Not that he should be too eager, but still…

“I’m not the one who needs convincing,” she reminded him. “And if I don’t get some sleep soon, I’ll have trouble proving my worth to my new boss tomorrow.”

This time she was granted a chuckle, and he finished making his way across the room. The bed shifted a little as he lay down, but he seemed to stay as close to the edge as possible. Heck, her arm fully stretched out wouldn’t come close to reaching him.

“No pillows?” she finally asked.

“I think I’m safe.”

You wish. She tried to relax, tried to sink into the most comfortable mattress she’d ever lain on, but it wasn’t happening. Then he suddenly spoke.

“Considering how well you’ve taken everything that’s happened tonight, I think you might have earned a point or two in your favor. Hopefully your new boss will agree.”

She huffed out a little laugh, then consciously forced her muscles to clench, then relax. It was the only thing she knew of to distract herself from his presence. So close, but still a good distance away.

That’s the way she should want it, but a niggling desire wouldn’t be smothered. If what he’d said was true, she’d have to learn to live with lusting after her boss in the quiet recesses of her own mind.

Though she’d thought sleep wouldn’t show up, considering the thoughts running rampant through her brain, the steady sound of the rain, the exhaustion she couldn’t fight any longer and the even breath of the man a few feet away eventually lured her under.

She woke to a different environment altogether. Instead of rain, sunshine peeked through the slats that protected the windows. Heavy covers kept her warm. Her body, her muscles, felt languid, almost liquefied in her relaxation. Then something shifted against her leg and sleep was immediately a thing of the past.

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